Journal Article

The molecular analysis of the shade avoidance syndrome in the grasses has begun

Tesfamichael H. Kebrom and Thomas P. Brutnell

in Journal of Experimental Botany

Published on behalf of Society for Experimental Biology

Volume 58, issue 12, pages 3079-3089
Published in print September 2007 | ISSN: 0022-0957
Published online October 2007 | e-ISSN: 1460-2431 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erm205
The molecular analysis of the shade avoidance syndrome in the grasses has begun

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The shade avoidance syndrome (SAS) is a morphological and physiological response initiated by a decrease in light quantity and a change in light quality. Recent work in Arabidopsis thaliana has begun to define the molecular components of the SAS in a model dicot species, but little is known of these networks in agronomically important grasses. The focus of this review is to present a current view of the SAS in the grasses based largely on the characterization of mutants in the phytochrome signal transduction pathway and on the effects of far-red light treatments on plant growth. In cereal grasses, intense selection by plant breeders has acted to attenuate some but not all shade avoidance responses within modern crop varieties. Traditionally, breeding efforts have been focused on optimizing grain yield. However, with the recent interest in lignocellulosic-based biofuels, a new breeding paradigm may emerge to optimize biomass at the expense of grain yield. Some of the opportunities and challenges for engineering plant architecture to maximize resource use efficiency and yield by targeting the SAS in grasses are discussed.

Keywords: Biofuels; grasses; phytochrome; shade avoidance

Journal Article.  6805 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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